Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union): 91-100

So you thought I was finished…but no, no! The Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union) is actually a list of 105.

Please make your own jokes, I haven’t any today. Thank you.

Or, if you prefer, start back at the beginning with 1-10 (and an explanation of this project), and 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, and 81-90.

91 The Sleepwalkers, by Egyptian Sa’ad Makkawi (1916-1985).

It’s set in Mameluke Egypt, and is Makkawi’s best-known work. But it’s not, in so far as I can tell, in English.

92 1952, by Egyptian Jamil Atiyah Ibrahim.

I did find one book by Atiyah Ibrahim in English: Down to the Sea, introduced and translated by Frances Liardet, published by Quartet in 1991.

93 Birds of September, by the Lebanese author Emily Nasrallah.

God bless writers who have their own websites. On, I was able to adduce (quickly!) that  “Although translated into several languages, [Birds of September] is still to appear in English.”

You can get Nasrallah’s Fight Against Time, which was translated by Issa J. Boullata and published by University of Texas Press. Or, if you’re here in Cairo, you can get her YA book, What Happened to Zeeko, from Hoopoe books. I’ve seen it at Adam Bookshop, among other places.

94 The Conspiracy, by Tunisian author Faraj Al-Huwar


95 Al-Mu’allim ‘Ala or The Scholar ‘Ala, by Moroccan author Abdul Karim Ghalib

Not a breath.

96 Essential Pillars, by the Jordanian author Elias Farkouh.

Again, hoorah for authors‘ and agents’ websites. Farkouh is represented by the Lebanese Raya Agency.

It looks like they’re still trying to move the English-language rights to his books (why don’t you go ahead and pick them up?) but you can read three of Farkouh’s short stories in Banipal 30: Creation, A Man I Don’t Know and A Very Long Short Story.

97 Birds of The Dawn, by the Lebanese author Lily Osseiran

Neither hide nor

98 Jisr Banat Yacoub, by Palestinian author Hassan Hamid


99 Al Wasmiya, by the Saudi Abdel-aziz Mishri. You won’t find Al Wasmiya in English (I don’t think), but you can find one of Mishri’s stories in the collection Oranges in the Sun: Short Stories from the Arabian Gulf, published by Lynne Rienner Publishers.

100 A Man from Bashmour, by the Egyptian Salwa Bakr, was published by AUC Press in a translation by Nancy Roberts.

If you like Bakr, you might also read The Golden Chariot, and The Wiles of Men and Other Stories, both of which have been translated into English. I do remember one interesting story from the collection.

Soon, yes, 100-105. The last one is a shocker.